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We’ve all experienced the agony of waking up with skin problems, but for Dr. Samuel, also known as @skingapore on TikTok, it was far worse. He had awoken with red, flaky skin under his eyes, which he discovered to be rashes!

Credits: @skingapore/TikTok

Like most of us, he thought his skincare was the issue and stopped using most products in his routine, particularly actives like retinol, and instead stuck to a simple routine of calming moisturiser and non-irritating mineral sunscreen.

He followed this routine for three weeks, but to his dismay, the rashes persisted. This meant that something in his environment was still causing his rashes, and that’s when it hit him: he’d begun burning scented candles as part of his “new bougie lifestyle”.

Credits: pvproductions/Freepik

How do scented candles cause rashes?

scented candles can cause rashes 1

Photo from Depositphotos

Skin irritations from a scented candle, such as rashes, are more common than you might think. According to Dr. Agren, founder and president of AllergyEasy, one out of every five people report reacting to candles with allergy symptoms.

Most of us avoid using fragranced products on our skin, especially if we have sensitive skin. However, even if not in direct contact, fragrances from our environment, like Dr. Samuel and his new bougie candles, can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

This is especially true for candles, which are made of a variety of synthetic scents containing hundreds of different chemicals, making them even more irritating for people with sensitive skin. Rashes around the eyes are also common because they are the thinnest and most sensitive part of our skin.

Is there a solution for candle lovers?

scented candles can cause rashes 2

Photo from Depositphotos

If candles are causing you skin problems but you still want to enjoy the ambience they provide, consider scentless and flameless LED candles. These will reduce the risk of allergic contact dermatitis caused by scented candles and candle soot.

Beeswax and soy candles with natural cotton wicks, while more expensive, are also better options because they are free of many chemicals found in standard paraffin candles, which produce smoke similar to inhaling fumes from a car engine.

If you know you have skin that’s especially sensitive to fragrances, addressing the underlying cause is the best option for you and your skin. This means to stop using candles or, as Dr. Samuel put it, “burning your money away”!

Credits: @skingapore/TikTok

Watch his full video here:


I finally had my own place to burn candles and this happened … Asian Mums “I told you already … don’t waste money”. #skingapore #learnontiktok #learningisfun #gpsamuel #doctorsoftiktok #tiktokdoctor #familymedicine #sgdoctor #tiktoksg🇸🇬 #sgtiktok #tiktokusa🇺🇸 #usa🇺🇸 #selfcare #mentalhealthawareness #eczema #contactdermatitis #candles #asianmom #fragrance #allergy #allergiccontactdermatitis #contactdermatitis #atopicdermatits #fragrances #jomalone #lelabo #scentedcandle #scentedcandles All products are self purchased not endorsing and not advertising. Candle is now purely for display purposes. #publichealth #sensitiveskin #skincaretips #skincare #sgskincare #familymedicine👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 #familymedicinedoctor #dermatology #faceskin #eyelid #rash Will not happen to everyone, but if you have sensitive skin – this maybe a source of irritation that your nose may have caused you to inadvertently overlook. #singlish

♬ original sound – GP Samuel – GP Samuel